Re: The Stranger, on Eminem & Elton

From: mec (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 18:37:58 PST

A preface: I am an old liberal fart who will try anything once.

I have appreciated Marshall Mathers since 1999's Slim Shady LP.
All this hoopla over his perceived "hate" message is passe' in
my house because we deal with such things via critical analysis
of context and concept.

We saw this coming just as we saw the rage over Rage and Harry
Potter. Nothing new here, folks. Controversy is cool because it
forces people to think and debate... to _define and defend_
personal standards (= not be sheep.... or the more popular term,
dittomonkeys. ;)

> A possible summary:
> + Eminem's album is full of hatred.

Popular hatred? ha ha

> + Yet it's 'cartoonish', and he seems to ahte everyone.

Easily digested with a good beat and inventive rhyme? ha ha

> + Yet it can 'terrify you with its implications'.

Only if you are unsure of your own belief blanket...

> + Yet he took the step of asking Elton.

Did he do that, did Elton, or did the Grammy show producers
brainstorm a brilliant hook?

> This is sooooo reminiscent of Andrew 'Dice' Clay. Maybe he's serious,
> maybe he's just performing as a character. Maybe some of his fans take it
> seriously and say "yes! yes! he understands what's really true!" Maybe
> other fans defend him with "lighten up, it's just a joke."

More effective than ADC, so far, I think. Read up on Marshall
Mathers' biography and it sorta becomes clear that he is a talented
young man who tried several approaches to make his voice heard
before hitting the mark.

> So, let's imagine it's the late 80s, and the Diceman has released a
> (hypothetical) album of songs. They're very clever songs, much cleverer
> than his usual jokes, but full of his usual anti-woman, anti-gay messages,
> and maybe to compare better with Eminem we should assume they also have
> violent 'fantasies'. The album goes triple platinum instantly.

I never got cozy enough to ADC to explore his craft in depth...
I never perceived enough of a sense of self or message in his work
to explore further.

> Should he be nominated for a Grammy? No really, I'm asking. Do you think
> he should be nominated? And separately, *would* he be?

No, no one should be just because the product is outrageous.
Where is the message? the depth?

BTW, what is up with the Steely Dan win? I didn't pay much attention
to Steely Dan in their so-called heyday. Shouldn't be too surprised
in these days of the Bush coup d'etat.

> I think it's an interesting comparison in several ways:
> + Have the demographics and standards of the Grammys changed in
> the last decade?

No clue. I'm mostly disappointed that Dylan's only new offering,
"Things Change," for the Wonder Boys s/t did not win.

> + Have the broadcast network standards changed?

Yes, altho they still bleep FUCK, may George Carlin live to be
one thousandfuckingyears old.

> + There appears to be some overlap in Eminem's and Clay's audiences.

Who, the jolly teenaged misogynists? Gimme a break. ha ha ha

> + Do they use the same "I'm a performer" defense, yet also believe some
> of what they're posturing?

Some of them, surely.

> + Are they both 'artists'?

Yes. A good one and a mediocre one, imo.


<undeleted below cuz my wild Pegasus horse is
 a goblin-infested maverick>

> On Thu, 22 Feb 2001, Lisa Dusseault wrote:
> > [quoting David Schmader]
> > But all agreed that Elton's acceptance of Eminem's offer was a serious
> > insult--if not a tangible injury--to the gay community.
> > Suffice it to say that Eminem's work does what good art should:
> > transport you with its vision, impress you with its skill, and terrify
> > you with its implications. And frankly, the wit of the wordplay would
> > make Oscar Wilde spooge his pantaloons.
> > As for the gay stuff: How seriously can I take verbal attacks from a man
> > who literally threatens to kill every one of his listeners during the
> > first 10 seconds of his record? Detractors gripe that such cartoonish
> > threats are obviously fantasy, while violence against gays remains harsh
> > reality.
> > Thirteen years ago, at the height of both the AIDS and the
> > Axl-Rose-is-a-bigot eras, Guns N' Roses signed on to play at an AIDS
> > benefit in New York City. The uproar from gay activists pushed the band,
> > at the time the most popular in the world, off the bill. The activists'
> > rationale was simple: Guns N' Roses are bigots, and we don't want no
> > bigots at our benefit. Unfortunately lost in this reasoning was the
> > "bigoted" band's offer to raise a bunch of money and give it to the
> > fight against AIDS.
> > Elton John knows this. "If I thought he was a hateful bastard, I
> > wouldn't do it," Elton told the Los Angeles Times, obviously recognizing
> > Eminem for what I believe he is--an artist who's made a complex career
> > for himself by doing exactly what he wants to do, whether it's
> > pretending to rape his mother on record or singing with a homosexual on
> > the Grammys. And if you don't like it, you can suck his fucking cock.
> >
> > Like all progress, the pairing of Eminem and Elton is messy,
> > complicated, and deeply divisive. But, for better or worse, it's
> > groundbreaking. Viewers of this year's Grammy ceremony will witness the
> > unprecedented scenario of a homosexual and a homophobe coming together
> > to sing a song in which a young pregnant woman is locked in the trunk of
> > a car and driven off a bridge.
> >
> > This is progress.
> >

<------ oneway ------>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:18:17 PDT